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Wallpaper Border Restoration

We recently worked on reproducing and matching a wallpaper border pattern for a home renovation.

On the plus side, this project had a lot of pros:

  • Small, repeatable surface area
  • Well conserved sample with hardly any dust or staining
  • Clear separation of colors

On the other hand, there were some unique challenges:

  • Tiny scrapes and tears throughout the original wallpaper sample
  • More than 6 colors to match, adding complexity and time to the proofing process
  • new wallpaper must match existing installation
  • A small portion of the pattern is missing and must be recreated/drawn by hand

We addressed these concerns in that exact order:

1. Repair Damage Digitally

We eliminate scuff marks, tears and other imperfections using Adobe Photoshop. This task requires patience and proficiency with the clone stamp tool and spot healing brush.

Side by side comparison of damaged wallpaper sample and a digitally restored copy

NOTE: In rare cases you can paint directly with colors using the paintbrush, but this is only when the original art is a completely solid tone. Most digital scans reveal what we perceive as a solid color is often made up of a noisy rainbow of similar colors. Painting a flat color against this subtle noise is more obvious in the final print, than what you will see on your computer monitor.

2. Restore Missing Graphics

Image of wallpaper sample with a missing piece

This part of the design process requires professional scanning of the original sample and some creative thinking on the designers part.

You can clearly see how part of the bird’s head is missing on the left. Thankfully this is a symmetrical layout and we can sample from the other side. Make your selection, duplicate it on a separate layer, then flip it horizontally to fill in the missing gap.

Screenshot of a restored portion of a wallpaper pattern

NOTE: You will want to zoom in pretty close (200%-300%) in order to ensure that these sections are matching and blended sufficiently.

3. Separate & Isolate Each Color

While there are a lot of colors to match, another benefit of this design is that it has clear color boundaries and the contrast between individual colors is quite pronounced. In these cases we can rely on the in “Color Range Selection”, always taking great care to tweak the tolerance and number of sampled colors to ensure a clean layer.

Screenshot of Photoshop's Color Selection Tool

Once a color is selected a duplicate of the current layer can be created, which copies only the selected pixels. We repeat this process until our original file has each color living on a separate layer.

Image showing isolated colors from a wallpaper sample

4. Printing a Press Proof Sample

With full control over individual colors established, we provide a number of color variants for our client to review. This is accomplished by using The Pantone Formula Guide. This color matching tool and guide is the best way to select and match specific colors. We then build color variants by adjusting the saturation and brightness of each unique/selected color.

This is an effective way to account for variations in wallpaper finishes which can affect color, and is specifically useful when someone is trying to match and build upon an existing wallpaper in an old house.

Photo of a wallpaper color sample placed on a table

Once we’ve received confirmation the wallpaper colors were a match, the job went into production and was shipped to the client within a few days and loved the final results.

Screenshot of a 5 star client review


It’s normal to be concerned about missing pieces of a wallpaper pattern, but ultimately we made short work of it with some outside the box thinking. The most time consuming portion of this project was cleaning up the sample and removing the small, but consistent signs of wear and tear throughout the pattern.

We’ve had to handle far more complex wallpaper patterns - masking out entire sections by hand, drawing patterns from scratch, scanning and digitally enhancing colors that have faded for over 200 years, but we will have to save that for the next wallpaper case study.

The #1 Independent Wallpaper Printing & Design Shop in New York

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Guidance & Tips

Read More
How to Prepare Wall Surfaces for Wallpaper InstallationOne of the most important yet neglected stages of wallpaper installation is the preparation of the wall itself.Continue Reading
Read More
How to Design Files for Wallpaper PrintingA brief guide to wallpaper file preparation. Produce consistent, high quality murals, patterns and prints with this handy set of tips.Continue Reading
Place Order for Custom Samples12" x 12" Press Proofs Available in 4 finishing options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a minimum square footage?
Yes, we have 50 square feet minimum per order.
What are the most popular sizes?
The three most requested sizes are 100, 300 & 500 square feet.
What is the maximum width x height you can print per roll?
The maximum roll size width is 52 inches wide by 360 inches in length.
Can I see sample before printing my project?
Yes, you can order a press proof sample of your custom artwork. We offer four coating/finishing options: matte, gloss, semi-gloss and texture.
Can I see a digital proof before final production?
Yes, our pre-press department will provide two rounds of digital proofs for approval prior to final print production. Please note, any additional digital proofs will be billed accordingly.
What kind of wallpaper material do you use?
Our wallpapers are a non-adhesive, fabric backed vinyl material which is installable via traditional pasting methods. They are available in matte, gloss, semi-gloss or textured coating/finishing options. We also offer peel and stick wallpaper.
Do you offer embossed wallpaper?
Yes, we offer specialty embossed wallpaper printing services. Please email us for more information.
What is the standard turnaround time?
Once final proofs are approved, standard production time is 5-7 business days. Please note, production time may change depending on our current press schedule and how many specialty options have been selected.
Can I pick my own design/image?
Yes, if you provide high resolution artwork, we can print your custom design.
Is the material durable and washable?
Yes, ordinary dirt and smudges can be removed from the surface with a mild soap and warm water.
Is the material removable?
Yes, our wall coverings can be removed. Please note, all surfaces must be primed with a drywall sealer and water based primer prior to installation.
Do you provide installation services?
Unfortunately, we do not provide or recommend installation services, however the following article is a useful guide for installers: How to Prepare Wall Surfaces
Can you ship material/printed samples for my review?
We can not send out material/printed samples without a job ticket being generated into our system.
How can I make a payment?
We accept all major credit cards and company checks. Please note, a job ticket must be created and payment is required before we can start proofing/final production.
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